As we have discussed before, there are hundreds, if not thousands of landscapers out there. Some are licensed, some not, and all offer various levels of service and results. Details Landscape Art is a Sonoma County landscape contractor that consistently goes the extra mile to deliver an aesthetically pleasing and professionally installed custom garden.
In twenty-seven years of design-build landscaping, we have seen it all. In order to come in with the cheapest price, many so-called landscapers cut corners to save costs…following are some examples:
-Digging holes for five-gallon plants in clay soils with an auger. Granted, adobe soil is difficult to work in, but an auger hole is basically a small swimming pool. Water collects, drowning the plant, which needs drainage and oxygen to survive. Adobe soil must be broken up and amended to give new plant roots a chance to penetrate their immediate environment.
-Mixing post hole concrete in the hole. Instead of thoroughly mixing bags of concrete with water in a wheelbarrow and then pouring the mixture into the hole, we see contractors in a hurry, dumping the dry bags of concrete into the hole and then adding water. The concrete doesn’t really get mixed, the post rots in a few years, and the fence needs to be replaced.
-Failing to use plastic tree root barriers to direct tree roots down and away from sidewalks and curbs. They are expensive, but the alternative is lifted and broken sidewalk concrete after a number of years, which is dangerous and unsightly. The cost of jackhammering, removing and replacing the sidewalk is far more than the root barriers. An ounce of prevention…
-Overplanting. Too many plants, too close together, not allowing enough space for the plants to mature. The result, in a few years, is an overgrown jungle. The contractor needs to know how big the plants will grow to at maturity, and care enough to space them properly.
-Overhead sprayers to water plants. This is really old school. Spraying water all over the place is a sure recipe for weeds, and an inefficient method compared to drip irrigation, which applies the correct amount of water to the root ball of the plant and no more.
-No drainpipe under sidewalks. A short piece of three or four inch drainpipe, costing less than a dollar, saves having to saw cut the concrete later to enable drainage to reach the street.
-No color in the grout. A ten-dollar bag of powdered grout color mixed into the grout mason’s mix adds so much to a flagstone patio or a stone wall. Without it, an otherwise beautiful masonry job looks ordinary with just white concrete grout.
-Planting messy evergreen trees near a patio or an entry. Evergreen trees drop their leaves or needles a little bit at a time all year long. Constant cleanup is required on hardscape surfaces where people gather or entertain. This is not a money issue – it is lack of though, and lack of caring. There are dozens of beautiful deciduous trees with non-invasive root systems available.
“The sting of poor quality lingers long beyond the sweetness of low price.” – Ben Franklin